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Des Kelly: I'll cut out the curses - Wayne Rooney can do it too!
Published : 10 Apr 2011 11:51:47
Every time the alarm clock goes off, whenever I accidentally see Diane Abbott or the Daybreak sports guy on my television, or when I'm asked to enter my PIN at the petrol station, I stifle the urge to mutter an audible obscenity. It is an instinctive impulse, a human reaction. So I can well appreciate all the controversy and conflict over f****** Wayne Rooney swearing, since most of us do it from time to time. But an extraordinary number of people out there still do not understand what the real issue is here, either because they are f****** themselves with spurious excuses, or putting their fingers in their ears and refusing to listen to any f****** evidence. Candid camera: Wayne Rooney hurls abuse after his hat-trick at West Ham It is not about the swearing in itself. Nobody is that stupid. This is about a player snarling and barking the F word at the viewing public like an angry Rottweiler. 'I am not the first player to have sworn on TV and I won't be the last player to swear on TV,' he moaned in his self-pitying statement. Well of course he won't be the last player to swear on television. He will, however, be the last one to deliberately do so straight down a camera lens and into living rooms across the land thanks to his Football Association ban, which is a pretty good place to start, as far as most of us are concerned. There's no contradiction here. What is so difficult to understand? Had he pushed his face inches away from some innocent spectator on the sidelines and showered them with spittle-flecked curses he would have faced action then, too. This isn't so different. And I haven't used any inappropriate language here myself, before you ask. The asterisks in the opening paragraphs merely concealed the words 'filming', 'fooling' and 'factual'. Follow Des Kelly on Twitter www.twitter.com/DesKelly Go back and check. It was your mind that filled in the blanks with something obscene and, frankly, I'm a little disappointed with you all. My point is, few of us can afford to be po-faced about the use of profanities. But most of us have the sense and decency to avoid swearing at wildly inappropriate times, which is why this paper isn't littered with curses, even though the average newsroom sounds like a Tourette's sufferers' convention. We know footballers will F and blind throughout a game. We just don't expect them to make a specific point of angrily telling the paying public to f*** off. Time, then, for Manchester United and the apologists to stop trying to paint Rooney as some kind of 'victim'. The trouble with this saga is that common sense has long departed, leaving the field wide open for a hail of farcical blame-shifting and outright nonsense. I've certainly been cursing as I read that swearing is apparently 'part of the job' for a footballer, and none of it should concern us because 'swearing at the referee happens all the time', as if that makes it all right. Personally, I don't sign up to the whole 'role model' argument. If your child looks to Rooney for moral guidance, it's time to make a call to Social Services. But I do expect players and managers to conduct themselves with a degree of professionalism. If they are unable to do so, they can accept the consequences, and screaming swearwords into a camera is not professional. Also, football cannot take credit for changing negative attitudes with anti-racism initiatives such as the 'Kick It Out' campaign and then turn around and say players' behaviour has no impact on public perceptions in the next breath. The gripe that it's the fault of those pesky, prying lenses was my favourite of all, however. We hear that Rooney wouldn't be in trouble if the camera wasn't there. Very true. He wouldn't be on ?250,000 a week either. Walking on eggshells? John Terry claims that players are now afraid to speak honestly The clubs and the players have been more than happy to fill their pockets with the television cash over the years. And now they're complaining there are obligations on their side of the deal? Tough. To see the Football Association finally taking a stand with their Respect campaign is actually rather encouraging. Belatedly, it appears to be having an effect, too. Over at Chelsea, John Terry says he is now afraid to criticise referees, as if this was somehow a great setback for free speech. He moans: 'Everyone's walking on eggshells fearing a ban before the next game. The players want to come out and speak honestly about it. 'We can't come out and speak honestly and that's a little bit frustrating. And because we can't speak honestly, you guys (the media) lose out.' Yeah, well, the media will get over it. More from Des Kelly... Des Kelly: You don't ask for respect... you demand it01/04/11 Des Kelly: Why England will NEVER be winners25/03/11 Des Kelly: Manchester City's maniac Mario Balotelli is no King Eric18/03/11 DES KELLY: One-eyed men, Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger, are blind to reality11/03/11 Des Kelly: Lunatics really have taken over the game - they must be stopped04/03/11 Des Kelly: Forget art, it's time for silver at Arsenal after all this time25/02/11 Des Kelly: This pair of greedy rats are shamed by Wembley ticket hike18/02/11 Des Kelly: We simply can't turn our backs on Newcastle's Barton11/02/11 VIEW FULL ARCHIVE The game is vastly improved if players are prevented from emitting a long, piercing whine of dim-witted complaint about supposed injustices after every defeat. Besides, I'm always suspicious of people who cannot complete a sentence without saying 'honestly' or 'let me be honest with you', since it makes me automatically presume they are being anything but. Terry wasn't being 'honest'. He was trying to sell a flimsy line that UEFA have orchestrated a grand plot to thwart Chelsea in Europe. His 'theory' - if we can even call it that - is blown asunder if you recall that the club would have won the Champions League already, had one particular defender not fallen on his backside as he took a decisive spot kick in Moscow three years ago. As conspiracies go, this one's not exactly Watergate. Honest. Elsewhere, in a typically crafty press call, Sir Alex Ferguson made a point of questioning whether he can even use the term 'fair' any more, after recent bans and fines. My advice is, no, probably not, since Ferguson has a habit of adding the prefix 'un' to the word, trashing the reputation of any referee who crosses him in the process - a flaw he will have to cut out now it is having serious ramifications for his club. Everyone is a victim, it seems. What a meeting it will be on Tuesday night, when the two oppressed martyrs meet again in the Champions League, seeking nothing but truth and justice. Players and managers always see grievances where there are none. They complain about prejudice, despite being among the most privileged people in the land. They complain the world is against them, when they are among the nation's most celebrated figures. They are so trapped in their own bubble they cannot possibly judge what is 'honest' or 'fair'. What better expression of this can there be than the highest-paid player in Britain leaning into a camera and telling us all to 'f*** off ' - and then expecting everyone to feel sorry for him? Payne on Wayne is just lame Just when Sir Alex Ferguson is losing the argument on football discipline, along comes not-so Superintendent Mark Payne with one of the more ridiculous attacks of recent times. Payne is responsible for - and I quote - 'managing responses to crime and operations in Wolverhampton'. Supt Payne claimed: 'If Rooney had behaved like that in Wolverhampton on a Saturday night, I would have expected my officers to lock him up.' In that case, I suspect the superintendent must spend a great deal of time feeling disappointed in his officers; because barely anybody is locked up for swearing in public on a Saturday night. It just doesn't happen. They are 'moved along'. It's one policeman's opportunist, publicity-seeking fantasy. And why are so few arrested for anti-social behaviour? Because the police are too busy 'managing responses to crime'. If Supt Payne really wants to start cleaning up the game, perhaps he might start at football grounds where 30,000 people chant 'Who's the w***** in the black?' in unison on a Saturday afternoon. No, I didn't think so. Sam Allardyce says Blackburn Rovers would not be facing a relegation disaster if the Indian poultry factory crew that bought the club had not sacked him. And he is absolutely right. Two wins this year and no victories in seven sounds like a dose of chicken pox. Unreformed character On this page recently I said I hadn't met Joey Barton, but that I felt pretty sure it would be difficult to like the man because of his public pronouncements and actions. Even so, I conceded there was a case for Newcastle's Barton being restored to the England squad. The question was not his form, but whether he could keep a lid on his violent tendencies and tame his mouth for a time. It didn't take long for Barton (right) to resolve the dilemma. This week he branded Ousmane Dabo, the ex-team-mate he was sent to jail for assaulting, a 'pussy', declared every English midfield player was inferior to him, that Gareth Barry was a 'tortoise', and so on. We were told he had matured. It seems not. And that England dressing room door might stay closed for a while yet. Bet with RespectEveryone looks for omens for the Grand National, so I'm sure that after his latest outburst, referees across the country will avoid backing the Sir Alex Ferguson co-owned horse, What A Friend. There is a possible Respect-themed quartet, however: Don't Push It, Character Building, In Compliance and Comply Or Die. The names sound like chapter headings on the FA's new disciplinary manifesto. And if they all finish in the top four you'll be able to buy Wayne Rooney for yourself. Explore more:People: Diane Abbott, Alex Ferguson, John Terry, Wayne Rooney, Sam Allardyce, Gareth Barry, Joey Barton Places: Newcastle, Moscow, United Kingdom, Europe Organisations: Football Association